Suk-min Yoon has taken his physical and left the Sarasota complex, according to Orioles reporters. There had been a hope that the Orioles would be able to get him a work visa without his having to return to South Korea, but this doesn't seem to have happened. Instead, manager Buck Showalter estimated it will be between five days and two weeks before Yoon is able to work out with the team:
Yoon was here for his physical today. Met Buck. Now he heads back to South Korea. 5-14 ETA to be back in camp— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 14, 2014
Everyone seems to be acting as though there were no problems with Yoon's physical, although the contract has yet to be officially announced and isn't expected to be on Friday. Yoon was hurt not long ago with shoulder problems, but the Orioles should have been well aware of that risk before trying to sign him. Even considering the fact that they've backed out of two deals due to physical concerns this offseason, it would be a surprise if they did so again.
Not to worry, because they have already set up a locker for Yoon in the clubhouse. He will be wedged in between backup catcher candidate Johnny Monell and bullpen candidate Alfredo Aceves, neither of whom has yet to arrive in camp. Both are reported to have encountered weather delays as a result of the storm that dumped snow back home in Baltimore and elsewhere.
In the rest of Showalter's usual afternoon news dump, he provided some more information about Dylan Bundy. Just yesterday, I wrote about Bundy's rehab with the assumption that his target return date for one year out from his surgery would mean the beginning of his rehab time in the low minors. The Orioles and presumably Bundy are targeting a more aggressive schedule than that:
On Bundy: Buck said the June target is when he'd be available as an option to the big lg club. Hope is he's pitching competitively in May— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 14, 2014
A hope that Bundy is pitching competitively in May seems crazy, but then, it's good to have a young body that recovers quickly, even from major surgery. Bastions of caution that they are, it's unlikely the Orioles would be saying this kind of thing about Bundy's schedule if they didn't believe it.
If Bundy is available to the Orioles one year after his surgery, that would be amazing. He might still need a little minor league developmental time even if he is ready so fast. Still, if it really does look like Bundy will be back and available at the big league level so soon, this almost makes the Orioles' offseason come into clearer focus. Bundy in July 2014 instead of Opening Day 2015 makes the list of needs for the upcoming season look a whole lot different.
Banking on Bundy to be back so fast could prove to be crazy. With such a prized prospect, there's no reason to rush him, after all. Still, it doesn't seem like the Orioles are doing this out of desperation, at least not based on what we know so far. Bundy's reputation as a hard worker is well known. The Orioles need him, but that doesn't mean they're pushing him.
If all continues to go well with Bundy, who is now doing long toss at 120 feet with 75% effort with no setbacks, then he might have an important part to play in the fortunes of this year's Orioles team after all.
UPDATE 4:30pm: Ghiroli seems to have been the only Orioles reporter to notice that Showalter said something interesting about Bundy's rehab today. In her notes article from Friday:
"In other words, they are saying this is when he'd be an option again for us," Showalter said of the June deadline. "It's not when he's pitching in Frederick on rehab. That's the way I understand it. I've found through the years, it means to me that he's probably going to be pitching competitively in May. By the time this is over we are going to have to pull the reins back on him."